International Star Registry

All Constellations

Vulpecula - Little Fox

Vulpecula is the home of Messiers’ M-27, the Dumbell Nebula. It has the distinct shape of a weight-lifter’s dumbbell and it’s age is estimated at only three or four thousand years old with a maximum estimate of forty-five thousand years. The dumbell is a relative newcomer and one of the nearest such objects to the Earth.

The full title for his constellation is Vulpecula Cum Ansere, meaning “the little fox with the goose.” It occupies an area between the arrow and the swan, where Via Lactea divides between two branches. Hevelius selected it because, “I wished to place a fox and a goose in the sky.” Well, reason enough, I suppose. As Longfellow put it in The Galaxy:

“Torrent of light and river of air,

Along whose bed the glimmering stars are seen

Like gold and silver sands in some ravine

Where mountain streams have left their channels bare!”

Right Ascension 08:09
Diameter (°)15
Area (square °)268
Opposition Jul 23
Size Rank 55th
Brightness Rank 60th